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Thomas M. Gradziel, Bruce Lampinen, Joseph H. Connell, and Mario Viveros

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Dale E. Kester, K.H Shackel, T.M. Gradziel, M. Viveros, and W.C. Micke

The potential for noninfectious bud-failure in propagation source material for `Carmel' almond in California has been determined in progeny tests from commercial nursery sources. Percentage BF increased with time (temporal), but decreased in severity (spatial). Analysis of variability in nursery sources showed that the key to successful selection for low BF potential is the individual tree, although variability exists among nurseries, budsticks (within trees), and individual buds (within budsticks). One-half of the individual trees of the nursery population tested have produced BF progeny so far within the test period. Future BF from the remainder was project by a BF model to be beyond the critical economic threshold. Two low BF-potential single tree sources were identified for commercial usage and progeny tests have started on an additional 19.

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Bridget M. Lamp, Joseph H. Connell, Roger A. Duncan, Mario Viveros, and Vito S. Polito

Scanning electron microscopy was used to examine almond [Prunus dulcis (Mill.) D.A. Webb (syn. Prunus amygdalus Batsch, Amygdalus communis L.)] flower bud development for three cultivars (Nonpareil, Carmel, and Butte) from four California locations (which span the range of almond production in California) for 2 years, and for `Nonpareil' in a single location for a third year. The objectives were to document timing of floral developmental events and to better understand the extent of variation that exists within and among cultivars, locations, and years. Results indicated that the time of floral initiation relative to hull split varied among cultivars. Median time for floral initiation in `Nonpareil' was more than 3 weeks after the onset of hull split. For `Butte' and `Carmel', median time of floral initiation preceded the onset of hull split. Extensive variation in the timing of bud development events within a cultivar was apparent. Timing of developmental events varied among locations, but no patterns emerged consistent with the north to south range which spanned 4°15' latitude and 520 km. Among years, development occurred earliest in 1997, a relatively warm year, and was delayed in 1998 and 1999, relatively cool years. Results indicate an earlier onset of floral initiation than reported in the classical literature on the subject.

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Dale E. Kester, Kenneth A. Shackel, Warren C. Micke, Mario Viveros, and Thomas M. Gradziel

The spatial and temporal pattern of noninfectious bud failure (BF) expression (BFexp) was studied during seven growing seasons in a population of `Carmel' almond trees originating from twelve commercial propagation sources. All progeny trees were grown in a single experimental site with high prevailing summer temperatures. BFexp increased continuously but irregularly in each nursery population as measured as the proportion of trees showing BF and as an average BFexp rating. Populations from the 12 nurseries represented increasing clonal generations from the original seedling tree and showed increasing levels of BF, as well as a decreasing shape value and increasing scale value derived by a failure statistics model. Models for development, distribution and hazard functions were defined for each of the 12 sources studied. Only sources from the original tree and source A demonstrated potential for commercial use. A significant correlation was found between average yearly increase in BFexp and the average daytime temperature for the previous June. The June period coincides with a specific stage in the seasonal growth cycle when vegetative buds mature.